It was one of those days, and it was happening in the middle of one of those years. We were exhausted and under a tremendous amount of stress. My husband said something that got under my skin. This wasn’t due to him so much as, you know, it being one of those years.
And there, right into my head, came the perfect comeback. The phrase that would show him how hurt and tired and stressed I was. It would remind him he wasn’t the only one being worn a little thin by life.
But before I said it, I was convicted it would be hurtful and wrong. (Usually I’m not convicted until after I’ve already spoken—that’s part of what makes this story memorable.) So I shut my mouth and continued to empty the dishwasher. My husband went on to work, never realizing what a paragon of self-control I had just been. No witnesses were there to see it (until now that I’m blogging about it. Don’t think I’ve missed the irony in blogging about humility.)
Jesus said we have to die to ourselves to follow him (Mark 8:34-37). Sometimes it’s dramatic. Sometimes it comes at great cost, and sometimes people are encouraged. Most of the time, though, we die to ourselves quite privately. So privately, in fact, that even those closest to us don’t know. We die to ourselves by keeping our mouths shut, forgiving others when they slight us, and moving on.
I don’t remember the details of that morning. That perfect comeback is lost forever. And I have failed to keep my mouth shut a thousand times since then. It’s a process, and I’m a work in progress. For some of us, the big, dramatic occasions to bring God glory will come. But even if they don’t, we have a thousand little chances to try to get it right.